• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

Goal!: The Dream Begins

Directed by Danny Cannon. Starring Kuno Becker, Anna Friel, Alessandro Nivola, Stephen Dillane, Marcel Iures, Sean Pertwee, Kieran O'Brien. (2005, PG, 118 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., May 12, 2006

Goal!: The Dream Begins

Despite employing every cliché in the sports-movie handbook, Goal!: The Dream Begins tells a reasonably engaging story about the rags-to-riches rise of a rec-league soccer player in East L.A. to the glory of playing for England's Manchester United. Though it's not the first movie to be set within the world of professional soccer, it's the first to almost seem like a promotional tool for FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (not to mention Adidas, whose logos are featured prominently on the players' uniforms). Mexican TV hottie Becker stars as Santiago Munez, and appears in virtually every scene of the movie after the opening sequence in which the character is shown with his family as a child, carrying his precious soccer ball as he crosses the border during the middle of the night from Mexico to California. Fast-forward 10 years and we find Santiago working two jobs and playing soccer in his off-time. He has a natural athletic ability and dreams of going into something other than the lawn-maintenance business his father stubbornly insists is his son's lot in life. Then, in the first of the film's many moments of strained credulity, Santiago is spotted by the former player and talent scout Glen Foy (Dillane), who just happens to be in the right place at the right time, and gets Santi the promise of a professional tryout with just one phone call and urges him to come to England. Faster than you can holler, "Goal," illegal immigrant Santi is slipping back into Mexico to catch a flight to London, using pin money saved up by his supportive grandma. Later, when his tryout proves disastrous, Santi is awarded the first of numerous second chances. This forward-backward motion sometimes makes for an awkward narrative progression, and makes it look like this young man's success is due more to lucky breaks than hard work and innate talent. Though there are brief off-field cameos by several soccer stars – among them David Beckham, Alan Shearer, Raúl González Blanco, and Zinedine Zidane – the action on the field won't be enough to sate the most soccer-crazed viewers. Tasty turns by Nivola as the spoiled sports star and Friel as the obligatory love interest help buoy the film, and the photogenic Becker also performs solidly. Goal! The Dream Begins was conceived by its makers as the first part of a trilogy, in which case they brought the right director on board. Cannon, whose last film was I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, is someone who knows his way around a rehash.

READ MORE
More Kuno Becker Films
The Snitch Cartel
This Colombian film is based on the true story of Andrés López, a drug trafficker who later worked with the DEA.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Oct. 25, 2013

From Prada to Nada
Former Spy Kid Alexa Vega co-stars in this comedy that provides a Hispanic spin on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

Marc Savlov, Feb. 4, 2011

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Fantastic Fest Review: <i>Zoology</i>
Fantastic Fest Review: Zoology
A woman grows a tail in this magic-realist parable

Sept. 26, 2016

Fantastic Fest Review: <i>Original Copy</i>
Fantastic Fest Review: Original Copy
An affecting profile of one of the last Indian film poster artists

Sept. 25, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Goal!: The Dream Begins, Danny Cannon, Kuno Becker, Anna Friel, Alessandro Nivola, Stephen Dillane, Marcel Iures, Sean Pertwee, Kieran O'Brien

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)